One of those days - A Short Story by Sue Webber
It was going to be one of those days, the day loomed forebodingly ahead and it was only 7.15am. She doubted that anyone in the course of human history could have had suffered quite so much misfortune in such a short space of time as she that morning; the alarm had only gone off thirty minutes before. Well actually it hadn’t gone off at all, if truth be told, there had been a power cut in the night. So it was just an unhappy coincidence that the cat had begun vomiting just as the alarm, or lack of, was set for. As she shot out of bed she briefly thought that maybe alarms should actually make the sound of a cat retching, because the speed at which people react to that sound is very similar to athletes leaving the starting blocks after the gun has been fired.
Some people are morning people, their alarm sounds, they wake, leap out of bed, flick on the coffee machine, adding scoops of their fair trade freshly ground coffee beans. Pop a couple of slices of whole wheat, gluten free, five grain bread (sanctimonious bastards) into the toaster and skip into an almost freezing cold shower. It’s so invigorating they say. And then, to add insult to injury they start to sing, loudly.
Her last boyfriend had been a morning person, needless to say he only had the one sleepover. He had seemed quite keen on her and was genuinely upset when after the tenth and final phone call, she told him,
“Look I’m sorry, really I am it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not ready for a relationship right now, you’re a really nice guy but I really need to find myself and it’s unfair to you to mess you about. You understand right?..........No, no, it’s not you, honest…..Yes, yes the sex was great, of course it was, you were amazing…… Of course the minute I find myself you’ll be the first person I call. I’m sorry, take care, bye”
She was not a morning person.
As she came charging out of the bedroom, the cat stopped retching for a moment and looked up to see his normally obedient slave, she would say owner, heading towards him looking somewhat displeased. He decided it would be prudent to make his exit through the cat flap, which was still swinging as she, in her haste, failed to see the cat’s offering on the lino and put her foot in it. Put her foot in it and began skating across the kitchen floor, her right leg was travelling at a slightly faster speed than her left leg. She uttered a curse as she did the splits and when she landed she upset the cats feed bowl. It was one of those moulded plastic types with two bowls, one side for feed and one side for water. The contents of both flew up into the air and seemed to poise momentarily mid-air and then speeded up again as they fell, landing in her hair, on her face, down her cleavage and into their final resting place, her lap. She cursed again as she watched, with crossed eyes, a cat biscuit slide down her forehead from her hair and stop on the end of her nose.
Life is just not fair she said as she pulled herself up off the floor. Today can only get better can’t it?
The cat watched disdainfully through the window as she cleaned up the mess, she saw him and scowled.
“Coffee, I need coffee,” she thought.
Pulling open the cupboard door she grabbed the coffee jar, it was empty. Bugger! There was one small sachet of coffee lurking at the back of the cupboard, probably pilfered from a hotel room. That would have to do. It was a bit hard though, who knew how old it was. She crumbled it by hand into a chipped old mug. She filled the kettle and flipped the switch, nothing. She checked the switch on the wall, it was on but the kettle wouldn’t boil. She quickly looked around the kitchen, the LED lights on the microwave and oven were off. The power cut! She flicked on a light switch, double bugger, the power was still out. She groaned, a deep guttural sound that came from the pit of her stomach, today couldn’t possibly get any worse could it? She couldn’t function or think straight without that first cup of coffee in the morning. She realised too that the shower, being electric, would be cold. If I didn’t have to go to work today I think I would just go back to bed, she thought.
She owed, she owed so off to work she must go, she had a quick wash with a flannel shivering at the cold water, dressed, tried desperately to tame the wild mane of red curly hair, grabbed her coat and handbag and flew out of the front door slamming it behind her. She was running late by now and if she didn’t hurry she would miss her bus. It was only a short journey into the city centre, but her boss was a stickler for people being on time for work. How could the business day start if there was no-one there to man the phones? he would yell at his staff. She really wasn’t in the mood for a telling off from him that morning.
She waited at the bus stop, surely it should have been here by now, please don’t tell me I’ve missed it, she thought. She looked at her watch, it wasn’t on her wrist, it was still on her bedside table. She looked Heavenwards and resisted the urge to curse again. She loved that watch, her dad had given it to her for Christmas two years before. He knew what she was like when it came to time keeping and sometimes she even forgot what day of the week it was. This watch had a good sized face on it and set into that face just under the twelve were three dials, the dials had the day, the date and the month. She was lost without it.
The bus still hadn’t arrived, what was keeping it? Just then a taxi cab was coming down the road, she jumped out In front of it holding up her arm to flag him down. The driver didn’t see her right away, when he did he slammed on the brakes and lost his grip on his samosa, it dropped into the foot well under the brake and promptly fell apart, leaking spicy vegetables everywhere!
“Bloody Nora!” he yelled. “What is it you are trying to do, get yourself bloody killed?”
“Oh, I’m sorry” she said “but I’m late and there doesn’t seem to be any buses today. Can you drop me in George Street opposite the town hall please?”
“If it stops you from getting killed, yes.”
She opened the door and sat in the back seat, he didn’t move, he just watched her in the rear view mirror.
“Why aren’t you driving?”
“I am waiting for you to put your seat belt on, I am thinking that maybe you like dicing with death today.” He turned to tell her.
“Oh, yes, sorry.” She put on her seatbelt, the driver faced front, started the meter running, brushed crumbs from his shirt and drove off down the road.
There was little traffic on the road that morning and the journey to the office was quick and uneventful. The taxi pulled up right outside her workplace.
Crikey, she thought that rarely happens, a space right outside her workplace. She paid the driver his fare, opened the door and stepped out onto the pavement. She didn’t see the fire hydrant cover set into the path, nor did she see the small holes the fire crews use to lever the cover off when they needed access. She didn’t see the heel of her shoe slip down into one of those holes as she stepped out of the taxi. She pushed the door shut behind her and stepped forward, or rather she attempted to step forward but something was horribly wrong with her leg, it wouldn’t move. Oh crap, she thought, I must have done something to it this morning doing the splits. Her body was already heading across the pavement but her leg was staying right where it was. It was inevitable what happened next, she had that same slow motion feeling she had had earlier, she fell then she hit the ground with a bump. The taxi driver saw what had happened and came rushing around to help.
“Oh my God, oh my God, you have some bad Karma today lady.”
He helped her up off the pavement, steadied her and asked if she was okay. I’m fine she reassured him, but my shoe is ruined. He turned to look behind her and saw the heel stuck fast in the hydrant cover.
“I’m thinking your shoe is definitely ruined” he said with a grin.
“I think so too” she said ruefully, ”I don’t think my boss is going to be very impressed with me, I’m late and I look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.”
“Perhaps your boss is a little more lenient on a Saturday,” said the taxi driver.
“I doubt that,” she said as she brushed herself down “but then I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen him on a Saturday.”
“Then why are you here?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well you said, you’ve never seen him on a Saturday, so I assume that you don’t work on a Saturday.”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“So I’ll ask again, why are you here?”
She stared at his face for a moment, then at the floor, then at her workplace. It was in darkness, there was no movement inside.
The sign on the door gave the opening times.
Monday to Friday, open 9am-5pm.
She stared at it for a moment as she tried to make sense of it. She turned and looked at the taxi driver.
“It’s Saturday isn’t it?”
He nodded as he gently took her arm, opened the door and guided her back into the seat.
“Home. Back home to bed from which I should never had got out of in the first place.”
“Karma” he said “you should always listen to karma.”
By Sue Webber
PS I have a whole lot of other stuff to share, I'll be back soon